Lee County residents Justin Scott and his sister Jayla James are working their way up the acting ladder. Most recently, Scott appears in Clint Eastwood’s “Trouble with the Curve,” coming to theaters Sept. 21.
LEESBURG. Ga. -- If you look pretty closely at the new Warner Bros. film "Trouble with the Curve" as you're munching on your popcorn and guzzling down your favorite beverage at the Wynnsong 16 Cinemas, you may see a familiar face on the big screen.
Lee County Middle School student Justin Scott graces the silver screen, albeit for only a few seconds here or there, in the new Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake film which is now in theaters.
It's one of five films that Justin has added to his repertoire since first being bitten by the acting bug during a theater class in third grade.
Since that time, he's garnered the attention of Atlanta Models & Talent, one of Georgia's top talent scouting agencies, and has started climbing the ladder that he hopes leads to fame and fortune.
His first rung was "Truthseekers: The Music of Souls," a multipart independent film series in which he plays Cory, the lead.
Next rung was "The Solomon Bunch," a film by Jason Prisk. Justin then landed his first studio film after an audition for Tyler Perry Studios.
"We went up for an audition at like 9 a.m., and by 8 p.m. they had called and said to be ready to shoot in Atlanta at 5:30 the next morning," the young actor said.
Scouts had thought Justin was perfect for the role of "Howie's double" in "Madea's Witness Protection."
From there, Justin found himself in the presence of actor and Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood, who headlines the cast of "Curve," which is set in Atlanta.
Justin said that while his role in the movie has no speaking parts, it took eight to 10 hours to shoot his part in the film, time he used to his advantaged to get to know Eastwood and others on set.
"I was really excited that I had a chance to speak to him," Justin said. "My dad said that if I had a chance to meet him to tell him that he was my dad's hero, so I went up there ... and I introduced myself to him by saying 'Hi, my name is Justin Scott' and he goes, 'Hi, my name is Clint Eastwood,' and I told him that he was my dad's hero."
The rigors of child acting don't just fall on the children, a fact well-known by Justin's parents.
"It's a lot of work," his mother, Valerie Creamer, said. "There's a lot of travel involved, a lot of going from here to there, and if you get a role then you have to make sure you're where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there. But I'd say it's worth it to give him a chance to pursue his dream."
Creamer and her husband Jim said that, in many ways, Justin's life is similar to other kids'.
He's involved in school. He has friends.
But, because of his acting lessons and coaching and auditions and roles, he ends up having a lot to juggle.
"That's something the directors have made a priority," Valerie Creamer said. "They know the value of an education and want to make sure that his work is being done."
"And there are rules about how long they can work," Jim Creamer interjects. "So if they work three hours, they have to take a three-hour break."
Justin and his sister, who goes by the stage name Jayla James, are hoping to continue climbing the acting ladder.
His early successes have allowed Jayla to earn some screen time as well: The two portray a brother-sister duo in the independent film "Hide & Seek."
Justin and Jayla are two Georgians hoping to take advantage of the state's blossoming film industry.
According to Georgia.org, Georgia is one of the nation's top 5 movie and television production centers. The film industry in the state employs roughly 25,000 people and generated $2.4 billion in economic impact in 2011.
Justin says his goal, like thousands of others across the nation, is to make a name for himself in Hollywood and to get gradually bigger and bigger roles.
"My dream would be to be in one of the 'Hunger Games' movies," he said. "I'd love to work with Jennifer Lawrence. I think she's a great actress."
And if you think Justin is just another cute kid looking to ride his youthful looks into the ranks of celebrities, you'd be wrong.
The budding actor also has started writing his own films.
"I'm writing a little bit, too, and I hope to get them produced and on-screen," the 12-year-old said.